Stewart Kisses Bricks With Second Indy Win

7/29/07, Speedway, IN – Tony Stewart wins the 14th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard over Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon. Stewart had to battle with Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle along with Montoya and Jeff Gordon and others to win in front of a home state crowd of over 175,000.

Allstate 400 polesitter Reed Sorensen, 21, is the youngest pole winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway surpassing Rex Mays who was 22 years, two months when he won the pole for the 1935 Indy 500. Going to the rear of the field is Robby Gordon (using back-up car) and Clint Bowyer (unapproved engine change). As Brett Bodine brings in the Corvette pace car, its heartthrob actor James Denton of Desperate Housewives waving the green flag to Target-Chip Ganassi teammates Sorensen and Juan Pablo Montoya to start the 14th annual Allstate 400. At the conclusion of lap one its polesitter Sorensen in the Target-Chip Ganassi Dodge #41 grabbing the lead, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. driving the Budweiser DEI Chevrolet jumps Juan Pablo Montoya and his Texaco/Havoline Ganassi Dodge to grab second as Montoya blends into third place as Penske teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch follow.

Lap 14 – Jeff Green hits the turn three wall hard with the right side of the car. The #66 Haas Automation Chevrolet has heavy damage. Green did replace two right side tires under green flag conditions on lap 7. NASCAR had scheduled a competition yellow on lap 15 due to limited track time the teams received yesterday however with Green?s accident, the yellow is out anyway. With the exception of the #66 Green car, all cars on lead lap. Green stated after the wreck, ?The right rear was rubbing and cut the right rear tire getting into the corner and couldn?t keep it under me. We?re done for the day I would say, the fuel cell is dragging on the ground so I?m sure it is done.?

After pit stops its Tony Stewart?s pit crew getting his orange Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet to the front over Earnhardt, Sorensen, Jeff Burton and Montoya. Denny Hamlin and his Fed-Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet is penalized and ends up going to the rear of the field (42nd) from 8th place after exiting pit road too fast.

Restart lap 20 – It?s the Stewart and Earnhardt show as the duo starts pulling away from the field and Earnhardt passes Stewart for the lead. Suddenly, Ryan Newman is executing a half-spin and hitting the wall very hard in turn four. Newman, who was running 11th, is narrowly missed by several cars as he comes to a stop right in the middle of the track. Newman restarts the car but the crew advises him to pull it into the garage. Hamlin pits to have some damage to the left-side of his car looked at.

The green flag comes out on lap 25 with Earnhardt in the lead with Stewart in his wake. Making moves through the field is Hendrick Motorsport teammates Jeff Gordon in 7th from his 21st position and Jimmie Johnson in 10th from his 19th starting position. Both the Green and Newman cars are declared out of the race.

Cars are spinning in turn one on lap 39. Dodge Dealers/UAW Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne got loose in turn one while under Tony Raines in the DLP HDTV Hall of Fame Racing Chevrolet. Kahne touches Raines causing Raines to bobble and loose control. Both cars slid hard into the turn one wall with Kahne pinning Raines against the wall. Raines spins off the wall with Kahne hitting Raines again in the driver side door. Raines got the brunt of the accident however Kahne receives heavy front end damage after his hit on Raines. Robby Gordon spun his Menards/Johns Manville Ford to avoid the accident. All three cars continue. It looks like Kahne and Raines will be behind the wall for significant repairs. Kahne wasn?t happy with his car today, ?We didn?t have a very good car. I?m really surprised. Yesterday it was completely different car in practice. As we were going back he was coming by me on the outside and we both ended up wrecking so that is the way it goers I guess.?

Martin Truex, Jr. had gained ten spots with his speedy pit stop, however it was a bit too speedy as he had to go to the end of the longest line after getting caught speeding on pit road. Restart on lap 44 with Earnhardt, Stewart and Montoya pacing the field with Jeff Gordon and Sorensen filling out the top-5.

Its lap 45 and once again we have cars crashing in turn one as Jamie McMurray in the Crown Royal Roush-Fenway Racing Ford gets into the side of Jimmie Johnson?s blue Chevy spinning both as Scott Riggs, Ricky Rudd, Carl Edwards are also involved. McMurray impacts the wall as Johnson, Rudd and Edwards spin. Johnson, Rudd and Riggs appear to receive damage but Edwards looks like he escaped unharmed. J.J. Yeley made hard impact with the wall a bit further back in the field it was reported he made contact with Kyle Petty (his 800th start). Robby Gordon encountered damage to the rear of his Ford in the same incident. All drivers are able to continue to the pits. McMurray commented, ?Matt (Kenseth) was trying to get underneath Jimmie (Johnson), and he was all the way beside the 48 and then the 11 just kind of made it three-wide at the last second. Your Perspective on TV is so much different than what you feel in the car. You just don?t realize how much you?re sliding around here. You?re pretty much already out of control, and when their momentum gets lost or someone makes a fast move like that, it?s hard not to run into each other. I was trying to stay off of Jimmie, and then, I think maybe the 10 car or somebody got into me, which is not his fault, it just one of those deals where maybe we?re racing a little to hard, too early.?

Restart lap 53 ? Earnhardt, Stewart and now Jeff Gordon are leading the field. Homestate favorite Stewart passes Earnhardt as Earnhardt got a bit loose in turn two. Martin Truex, Jr. was held a lap because he ignored the pit official exiting the pits.

Another crash on lap 55 Casey Mears gets loose in his National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and nudges Johnny Sauter in his Radioactive Energy Haas CNC Racing Chevy. Elliott Sadler gets pushed from behind by Kyle Petty and Sadler joins the party and is in the wall. Petty escapes the melee. Mears and Sadler receive the worse of it but Sauter also has damage, though not as bad. ?I got behind Bobby Labonte to try to follow and the pass the 70 (Johnny Sauter) and I tucked up so close behind the 43 (Labonte) that when I went to go get on the brakes to make the corner, I just went straight. I ended up getting into the 70. It was definitely my fault for getting into the 70 there.?

We have another restart and another crash, on lap 62, Jimmie Johnson was running a lap down to the leaders had a left front tire blow going into turn three and slams hard into the wall. The Lowes Chevy erupts into flame as the car coasts to the pit-in lane in the north short chute. The defending Brickyard 400 champion exit?s the burning car quickly and luckily uninjured. The SAFER barriers are proving their worth today. Ask if he got his eyelashes singed Johnson replied, ?Yeah. That?s the first time I?ve had flames inside the car. At that point you just want to get the car stopped and I?m considering turning the belts loose but I?ve got cars flying by me on both sides. Finally I got into the grass without anybody getting into me and I came out of the car.?

Restart on lap 68 sees Kyle Busch leading Brian Vickers? Red Bull Toyota and Matt Kenseth?s DeWalt Roush-Fenway Racing Ford. As we approach halfway Busch continues to lead with Montoya and Stewart passing Kenseth to move into the top-3. A debris caution on lap 77 temporarily slows the field with Busch in the lead. Pit stop strategy will really start to kick in. Do we pit now? Can we pit now and only need to make one more stop? The answer is only Busch who skipped the last round of stops pits. More of those on the lead lap from positions 15 or so also come in. While exiting on pit lane, Kurt Busch loses his rear panel to his Miller Lite Ford as he makes contact with Clint Bowyer. The biggest loser might be Scott Wimmer driving the fourth Richard Childress entry may have knocked the tow out of the right front. Stewart leads Montoya and Kenseth as they get the green flag on lap 80.

The eighth caution of the day came out for debris on lap 91. Restart lap 98, with yellow flag cautions for wrecks lasting three to six laps why is this one lasting seven laps for debris? Biffle leads Harvick and Clint Bowyer as Stewart gives chase. Harvick challenges Biffle and takes over the lead on lap 103. However, the man on the move is Stewart as he also dispatches Biffle. Stewart eventually takes the lead from Biffle on lap 111. 49 laps and one pit stop to go for the frontrunners, its Tony Stewart?s race to lose.

With 40 laps to go Stewart opens up a four-second lead. Kenseth is the first of the front runners to pit under green on lap 123. Speculation is that he won?t have enough fuel to finish the race. Biffle comes in the following lap, a four tire stop. It appears everybody is going with four-tire stops even with the race staying green. Stewart comes in on lap 127, taking four tires. Denny Hamlin ends any hope of winning much less a top-ten finish when his black #11 Chevy runs out of fuel when coming into the pits. The crew tried to restart but lost a lap trying to refire the car.

Earnhardt nation exhales in disbelief on lap 136 as they watch Earnhardt detonate an engine in the Budweiser Chevy as he comes down the front stretch while running in fifth place. “We just had bad luck, we’ve had good motors all year long,” said Earnhardt Jr. After the yellow for the Earnhardt blown engine the green come out on lap 140 with Stewart in command. Harvick is second with Jeff Gordon and Montoya in pursuit. Many fans clad in red are seen leaving the stands.

Earnhardt remarked after exiting the car, “I was running fifth, I thought that was pretty good. It’s hard to lead these things every lap. We broke pulley off the front end of the motor, the harmonic balancer is still there and the pulley is gone. I guess the motor broke but you’ll have bad luck every once in a while. We’ve had great motors all year long and I’m real proud of the engine shop and that one was a good one. That’s what keeps up running up front at places like this and we need the same power the rest of the year. You just can’t take chances when you are trying to stay in that Chase. I am real proud of my team, Budweiser and everybody that supports our team. We had a good car today. I want to thank all the guys on the car – back at the shop and here at the race track, because the car was fast and I was really enjoying myself today. Earnhardt seem appeared to be a bit out of breath after exiting his car, “These races aren’t easy. You are in the middle of working your butt off and then all of a sudden you stop. You get a little adrenaline rush and then you are tired.”

Harvick challenges and passes Stewart, with 15 laps to go Harvick and Stewart are carrying on a spirited battle. “I just went down into (turn) one and got really, really tight for some reason,” Stewart relied later. With 13 laps to go Harvick is starting to distance himself a bit. However Harvick wiggles and Stewart reels him in again. Ten laps to go there?s lots of dicing and dueling and contact. Stewart is in the lead again. “I got a good run on him off of (turn) one and got by,” said Stewart. “That’s a hard guy to race with, he’s a clean guy and one of my best friends. I can’t think of another guy I’d want to race for the lead. Eight laps to go Stewart leads by 0.9 seconds. Four laps to go Montoya passes Harvick for second as Jeff Gordon also passes Harvick. The freight train continues to pass Harvick as Kyle Busch and Reed Sorensen also pass the slowing Harvick. Harvick is complaining that the car is tight. Two laps to go Stewart has a 3.1 second lead over Montoya. The checkers are out, Tony Stewart wins the Allstate 400 for the second time in three years.

With the crowd chanting ?Climb the fence, climb the fence? Stewart and his crew of over a dozen climb the fence at the start/finish line to the thrill of the Stewart-friendly crowd. An uncensored Stewart delights those watching on television and those in the stands when he said, ?This is for every one of those fans in the stands who pull for me and take the bullshit every week for it.” Stewart added, “It’s sweet for all these people in the stands who have got to listen each week to the guys who don’t like us. Our fans are one-of-a-kind breed race fan for sure.?

Tony explained his winning move and strategy in the winners press conference, ?Oh, man, this one I’m going to remember a lot more of it, for sure, afterwards. But, no, it is still like a dream. The first one was great, but there was so much going around it, being the first one. Both races were special. Neither of the wins outweighs the other win. I mean, to race one of my good friends Kasey Kahne for the first one and a very close friend, Kevin Harvick, for this one, I couldn’t think of two other guys I’d rather race for the win here than that. We had the fastest car today. It was consistent all day long. The guys had great pit stops. It was just like Chicago except on the restarts we were real vulnerable on the restarts. Three times I went down into one and got really tight on a restart for some unknown reason. I kept trying to keep scrubbing the tires, making sure they were cleaned off. For some reason, we’d go down in there and get tight. We were fine after that. But it let Kevin get by us. I was confident that we could get back to him and I thought in my mind, I mean, I really believed we could get by him again ’cause we’d done it the run before. But we got up to him and actually dropped back away from him a little bit. I thought, man, this may or may not happen. It was just a matter of trying to get the timing right, get the runs right, get a good run on him to where we could get a run down the straightaway.

The motor was awesome. We could draft up to him and get underneath him going into three. That was my strong point. Kevin got really smart and changed how he was driving turn two and got to where I wasn’t getting as big a run as I was before. I had to do something different. I’d been lifting earlier. He had been driving in deeper than I had. Just the differences in setups let us drive our cars different than each other. I tried to go in hard with him once and see what happened, and I got up to him and he got tight, I guess, in one. We got underneath him. I just squeezed him a little bit, not on purpose, but I got too close to him I guess, ran into him in the short chute. It was a really cool, almost like a slide job, countermove, him getting back underneath me. It was a drag race down the backstretch. Whoever got through turn three was probably going to win the race at that point.?

During the press conference, a reference was made regarding Stewart?s former car-owner in the USAC Sprint Car Division, Glen Niebel, Stewart recalled Niebel, ?Oh, yeah. He’s talking about Glen (Niebel), who I ran the Sprint cars for. He lived just north of Columbus. Days like today are when you remember the guys that helped you get to these places. It’s the Roy Barkers, Ralph Potters, Bobby Easts, the Steve Lewis, all the guys that get you here, and everybody that spent all night working on the race car so you could go run for less money than what it cost to run the car the next day. It’s for those guys, for the race fans. This is the payoff at the end of the rainbow. This is what makes those guys feel good that they spent that money and stayed up fixing cars that I crashed the night before so we could race them the next night. I can promise you the way I drove this race today is one he would be very proud of. Lessons I learned from him helped today.?

This is Chevrolet?s ninth win out of 14 and fifth in a row at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is Stewart?s 31st victory in 304 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts.

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